How Craft Drinks Can Expand Margins at the Beverage Counter

Consumers continue to raise their standards for quality at the convenience store, and the cold dispensed beverage section is no exception. The quality of a c-store’s drinks alone can determine where a consumer chooses to shop; 82% of c-store consumers say beverage quality is important to them when choosing a c-store, according to Technomic’s April 2022 C-Store Beverage Consumer Insights report.

For retailers, offering craft drinks made with real ingredients and unique recipes at the fountain and bubbler can be a sweet way to satisfy consumers’ cravings for natural beverages, unique flavors and a more premium experience overall.

Natural appeal

Sodas have long been the standby for the beverage fountain, but consumers’ growing interest in better-for-you options has ushered in opportunity for juices to expand sales. Mintel’s 2021 report, A Year of Innovation in Juice Beverage Concentrates, found that the pandemic accelerated healthy eating efforts among the vast majority—93%—of U.S. consumers, and that 81% of consumers consider juice as a healthier alternative.

Sunny Sky Products’ Pure Craft Beverages line offers all of the things shoppers love about this category: real sugar, natural flavors, real juice and no high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), plus handcrafted recipes and artisanal flavors including Ginger Pear, Cucumber Lime and Orange Passionfruit. What’s more, offering a variety of natural flavors can further boost sales by combining premiumization with the opportunity for customization.

Consumer preferences for better-for-you ingredients do not stop there. According to Technomic’s 2022 Beverage Consumer Trend Report, consumers say they would be more likely to purchase beverages that are naturally sweetened (61%), all-natural (59%), free of artificial ingredients (55%) and free of HFCS (50%)​. For this reason, choosing craft drink recipes for the c-store selection of sodas, juice drinks, teas and lemonades can help expand sales across beverage types.

A novel approach

Beyond appealing to health priorities, craft beverages also bring a sense of novelty to the table. Seventy-one percent of consumers say they would like to see more craft and local beverage options at c-stores. Also, 41% of consumers say unique flavors are the reason they’re purchasing more cold foodservice beverages at c-stores than they were two years ago.

Retailers can leverage these preferences and refresh their beverage selection with craft-drink varieties. Sunny Sky’s Pure Craft Beverages line offers both new and exciting flavors, as well as the classics with a premium twist. Customers can choose from a wide array of iced teas, lemonades, juice drinks, sodas and sparkling waters made with real sugar, real juice and natural flavors for a taste that is unmatched. For a global twist, shoppers can try Jarritos® Mexican sodas, which are available in frozen and fountain formats, all made with natural flavors and real sugar.

There’s no better time for retailers to revamp their cold dispensed beverage selection and keep customers coming back for delicious drinks they can’t get anywhere else. To learn more, click here.

This post is sponsored by Sunny Sky